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Learn Gurbani





The word Gurbani (Gurmukhi: ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ) consists of two roots - Guru and Bani. The word "Guru" means someone who is a "teacher, guide, expert, or master". The word "Bani" refers to utterances, speech, writings or verses. So the combined word "Gurbani" is commonly used by Sikhs to refer to any compositions of the Sikh Gurus and other writers of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Language

Any attempt at learning Gurbani involves working with several languages. The languages have dialectical differences and range from Sanskrit; regional Prakrits; western, eastern and southern Apabhramsa; and Sahaskrit. More particularly, we find Sant Bhasha, Marathi, Old Hindi, central and Lehndi Punjabi, Sindhi and Persian. There are also many dialects deployed, such as Purbi Marwari, Bangru, Dakhni, Malwai, and Awadhi.

Although there are many different languages (what we speak) the entire Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is written in the Gurmukhi script (how we write the words).

a. Punjabi - Sikh Gurus, Bhagat Farid and others
b. Sindhi - Guru Arjan
c. Sanskrit - Guru Nanak, Guru Arjan and others
d. Influence of Arabic and Persian - Bhagat Namdev
e. Western Punjabi/ Lehndi - Guru Arjan
f. Gujrati and Marathi - Bhagat Namdev and Trilochan
g. Western Hindi - Bhagat Kabir
h. Eastern Hindi - Bhatts
i. Eastern Apabhramas - Bhagat Jaidev

The Importance Of Learning Gurbani

The Rehat Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct) says;

ਸਿੱਖ ਲਈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖੀ ਵਿਦਿਆ ਪੜ੍ਹਨੀ ਜ਼ਰੂਰੀ ਹੈ।
Learning Gurmukhi (Punjabi in Gurmukhi script) is essential for a Sikh.

ਹਰ ਇਕ ਸਿੱਖ ਸਿੱਖਣੀ, ਬੱਚੇ ਬੱਚੀ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਮੁਖੀ ਪੜ੍ਹ ਕੇ ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਜੀ ਦਾ ਪਾਠ ਕਰਨਾ ਸਿੱਖਣਾ ਚਾਹੀਏ।
Every Sikh, man, woman, boy or girl, should learn Gurmukhi to be able to read the Guru Granth Sahib.

ਸੰਤਾਨ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਸਿੱਖੀ ਦੀ ਵਿਦਿਆ ਦਿਵਾਉਣੀ ਸਿੱਖ ਦਾ ਫ਼ਰਜ਼ ਹੈ।
It is a Sikh's duty to get their children educated in Sikhism.

Bhai Gurdas was a brilliant scholar, poet and nephew of Guru Amar Das Ji. He rendered an imperishable service to Sikhism and was the one of the original scribes of the Adi Granth Sahib. Later, he served as the first Jathedar of Akal Takht, he wrote;

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਸਕਾਰਥਾ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਪੜਿ ਸਮਝਿ ਸੁਣੇਹੀ।
A Gurmukhs life becomes meaningful when they read, understand and listen to Gurbani.

~ Bhai Gurdas, Vaaran, Vaar 1, Pauri 3 of 49, Line 5

Learn Gurmukhi

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji has many references refering to the importantance of Gurbani. Here are a few selected quotes;

ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਇਸੁ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਕਰਮਿ ਵਸੈ ਮਨਿ ਆਏ ॥੧॥
Gurbāṇī is jag mėh cẖānaṇ karam vasai man ā▫e. ||1||
Gurbani is the light to illuminate this world; by God's grace, it comes to abide within the mind. ||1||

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Amar Das, Sri Raag, Ang 67

ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਸਤਿ ਸਰੂਪੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਬਣੀਐ ॥
Saṯgur kī baṇī saṯ sarūp hai gurbāṇī baṇī▫ai.
The word of the true Guru's bani is the embodiment of truth; through Gurbani, one becomes perfect.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Ram Das, Pauri, Ang 304

ਸਚੀ ਬਾਣੀ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਆਖੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਜਾਏ ॥
Sacẖī baṇī gurmukẖ ākẖai ha▫umai vicẖahu jā▫e.
The Gurmukh listens to true bani, and egotism departs from within.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Amar Das, Raag Suhi, Ang 753

This page provides links to resources that can assist in learning to read and recite Gurbani (listed in the order they are usually recited each day).

Learn Japji Sahib

Japji Sahib was composed by Guru Nanak Sahib Ji. It is regarded amongst the most important Gurbani or 'set of verses' by Sikhs.

Learn Jaap Sahib

Jaap Sahib was composed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Jaap Sahib is reminiscent of Japji Sahib composed by Guru Nanak, and both praise God. The Jaap Sahib is composed predominantly using the Arabic, Persian, Braj Bhāshā and Sanskrit languages, in Gurmukhi script. The Jaap Sahib, structured as a stotra (meaning 'ode, eulogy or a hymn of praise') has 199 Pauris and describes God as unchanging, loving, beyond birth and death, and the ultimate power.

Learn Tav Prasad Savaiye

Tav Prasad Savaiye was composed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Tav Prasad Savaiye is a short composition of 10 stanzas and is recited after completing Jaap Sahib. In this Gurbani, Guru Gobind Singh tells us how to worship and realise God. This composition strongly rejects idolatry, pilgrimages, grave worshiping, samadhis of yogis and other ritualistic beliefs in hinduism, jainism and islam.

Learn Chaupai Sahib

Chaupai Sahib, also known as Benti Chaupai, was composed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Chaupai Sahib is an Ardas or 'request' or 'sincere plea' to God for protection. Chaupai Sahib is also a part of the evening prayer of Rehras Sahib. As with all Gurbani, Chaupai Sahib can be read at any time during the day to provide protection, positive focus and energy.

Learn Anand Sahib

Anand Sahib, written in the Ramkali Raag, was composed by Guru Amar Das Sahib Ji. It is said that the person who recites this Holy Gurbani daily with dedication, attention and comprehension, will achieve Anand (complete happiness) in life.



Learn Sukhmani Sahib

Sukhmani Sahib, known as the 'Song of Peace', was composed by Guru Arjan Sahib Ji. This sacred prayer spans 35 Ang's from Ang 262 to Ang 296 of the Guru Granth Sahib. One of the fundamental texts of the Sikh faith, Sukhmani Sahib presents a complete scheme of the teachings of the Sikh faith. Many ardent Sikhs include the recitation of this Gurbani in their daily regimen of Nitnem.



Learn Rehras Sahib

The word Rehras is a synthesis of two words, 'Reh' and 'Ras', Reh means path or passage and Ras are provisions. So Rehras means 'provisions for the journey of life'. Rehras Sahib, an evening prayer, speaks of the greatness of Waheguru. As recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib, it contains the hymns of four different Gurus; Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan. Chaupai Sahib, attributed to Guru Gobind Singh, was added to Rehras Sahib in the late 19th century. The addition was later ratified by the Supreme Sikh religious body - Sri Akal Takht.

Learn Sohila Sahib

Sohila Sahib, also known as Kirtan Sohila, is the night time prayer recited by all Sikhs before they go to sleep. Three Sikh Gurus – Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan - contributed five shabads in total to this Gurbani. Sohila Sahib means 'Song of Praise' and provides the golden gift of peaceful sleep. Sohila Sahib is also recited before a cremation following a Sikhs rejoining with God.



Larivaar Gurbani

Larivaar is where Gurbani is written in continuous form as shown above (ie. with no breaks in between the words of Gurbani). This form of writing was used by the Sikh Guru Ji's and other historical Sikhs. Historic Gurdwaras in India, including Sri Harmandir Sahib (Sri Darbar Sahib), Amritsar, only permit Parkash of Larivaar Saroop of Guru Granth Sahib Ji.







  • book

    Gurbani Vayakaran

    by Prof. Sahib Singh

    A work of great linguistic value, Gurbani Vyakaran is not merely a Grammar Book. Written around 1932, and published in 1939, Gurbani Vayakaran's impact was enormous, as it broke new grounds in the study of Grammar.















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